Tambay, back in April (HERE), wasn’t giving you the bunk
when he said that writer, producer
and director Jono Oliver’s dramatic film, Home,
The film, which stars Gbenga
Akinnagbe, Tawny Cypress, Danny Hoch, James McDaniel, Joe Morton, and Isiah Whitlock, is a moving,
engrossing and beautifully acted film that also works incredibly effectively
as a solidly crafted “feel good”
Despite its serious subject matter, about a mental patient
suffering from perhaps extreme bi-polar disorder, Home is far from a grim, dispiriting
film. Just the opposite; it’s a film that deals with the eternal possibility of
hope and that good things eventually do happen to good people, no matter their
In the film, Akinnagbe
plays Jack, who is a patient in a mental institution for what is possibly an extreme
bi-polar disorder, and who is scheduled to be moved to a housing facility run by
However, Jack wants to be independent and on his own, not
being under the care of others anymore. Being in the housing unit is just
another prison for him, and he has arranged to move into his own apartment once
he’s released. However, he finds out that the landlord has raised the rental deposit, and he is unable to move into it, which means he’ll be forced into the institution-run housing unit.
What follows is Jack’s increasingly desperate attempts to
find the money to move into a new unit, while also trying to reestablish his somewhat
shaky relationship with his family, who are trying to be understanding, but still
damaged from ugly past experiences with him, leaving them all not very optimistic
and very cautious.
Akinnagbe gives an extraordinary and poignant performance, both powerful and totally sympathetic. And
yet there’s an edginess and unsteadiness in his physical movements, and a fear behind the eyes of his character.
He is someone who is struggling internally to stay sane and balanced. You honestly pull for him and want to see him
make it, to finally gain some small measure of happiness.
With his long experience as an assistant director on many
major feature films and as a TV screenwriter, it shouldn’t be any surprise that
Oliver shows his considerable skills as a director and screenwriter on his first
feature film. There’s an assuredness in the camerawork, the pacing and the total structure
of the film. It’s a truly impressive directing debut from someone who clearly knows
what he wants and how to achieve it.
And if you in the Chicago area, Home will be shown this
coming Sunday, Aug. 25 starting at 5:15PM, and again on Monday Aug 26 at 8:15PM at
the still on-going Black Harvest Film Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center in downtown Chicago.
Oliver himself will be at the Sunday screening
only for a Q & A after the screening.
Do make a note to see it. You won’t regret it.
Below is a recent 30 minute interview with Oliver which
also includes the trailer for the film: